GLOUCESTER – Rabbi David Kudan, who has led congregations in Glencove, IL, Winchester, Malden and Peabody, has been named the new interim spiritual leader of Temple Ahavat Achim in Gloucester.
“It’s exciting to be embarking on a new phase of my career. Gloucester has been very welcoming and embracing, and I’m very excited about serving a new role there,” said Kudan, who moved to Gloucester several years ago. “Temple Ahavat Achim is a wonderful community, unique in many ways. There’s a great Jewish community that’s so rooted there. They’re very devoted to the synagogue, and for many years it’s been the main Jewish presence in Cape Ann.”
Kudan, whose father was a Reform rabbi, grew up in the Midwest. In 1973, he met Barbara Abrams on a high school trip to Israel, and years later the two married. He went to Hampshire College, where he wrote his thesis on the impact of the printing press on early Yiddish publishing. After working in stock options for a year, he enrolled in the rabbinic studies program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and became a rabbi. He has served as a rabbi at several congregations, including Harvard Hillel, Temple Shir Tikvah of Winchester and at Am Shalom, a congregation that his father founded in Glencoe, IL. Rabbi Kudan and his wife Barbara have homes in Gloucester and Cambridge, and have two children, Ariel Nadav and Talia Ma’ayan.
Several years ago, he became the spiritual leader of a newly named temple in Peabody – Temple Tiferet Shalom (the synagogue formed through the consolidation of Temple Beth Shalom of Peabody and Temple Tifereth Israel of Malden).
Kudan, who began his new position this week and was slated to hold his first Torah class this morning, replaces Rabbi Steven Lewis, who led Ahavat Achim for the last 10 years. Kudan was named the new rabbi after the temple set up a Search Committee, led by Richard Quateman and Bo Abrams.
“We were seeking a rabbi wishing to create joyful, musical and meaningful participatory worship experiences,” said Quateman, who is also the temple’s president. “We also wanted a rabbi who could represent us to the larger Cape Ann community and beyond, and join us in seeking ways to work together on issues of social justice. Rabbi Kudan brings all these skills and attributes, together with – most importantly – a wonderful sense of humor.”
Kudan said he loves to teach, and support people through lifecycle events. “I like to take a creative approach to Judaism respectful of tradition. I think we have to keep Judaism fresh and always offer new interpretations. We are committed to Torah, but Torah is an evolving concept – always every expanding and growing.”